Dear Ricky: thanks, but should move on
Have Ricky Stuart and the NSWRL selectors made the right decision to drop Uate for State of Origin Game 3? (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
Dear Ricky, word is that you want to keep your Blues hat on, tucked neatly beneath your Parramatta Eels cap in the coming season. Thank you, Rick, but we have to move on.
NSW in 2012 provided their long suffering supporters with a glimmer of hope – the team played well, looked like it might win and competed as equals to their Queensland foes.
This didn’t happen by accident – it was the result of a strategy based on a series of recommendations by Brian Canavan, which were adopted by the NSWRL Board. This was the closest series since Queensland’s streak began. The plan is working.
One of the key platforms to this strategy is the appointment of a coach who is not already with an NRL club. There can be no doubt that the role of Ricky Stuart as a non-aligned coach has been pivotal to the NSW improvement.
The NSW Rugby League is now faced with a dilemma: do they reappoint Stuart as NSW coach, despite his main employers being the Parramatta Eels? Or, should they continue with the strategy and look for a replacement?
I urge the NSWRL Board to hold its nerve, not bow to populist calls and to seek a replacement.
Ricky knew and embraced the NSW strategy. He knew the consequence of his signing with Parramatta and can’t be asking NSW to change policy to now suit his personal circumstances.
As a coach, I’m sure Ricky would not tolerate one of his players changing the team’s preparation or game strategy to suit his personal needs. Ricky would find a replacement player without hesitation.
The seven years that NSW has spent in the Origin wilderness can be attributed to a number of factors and not sticking to a strategy is chief among these.
There is a change in the air. The NSWRL Board Members were deep into the second half, showing signs of getting on top of the opposition. Please don’t throw out the game plan just use the interchange bench judiciously.